Published: Thu, October 12, 2017
Global | By Shelia Dennis

Trump lashes out at NBC over nuclear arsenal report

Trump lashes out at NBC over nuclear arsenal report

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday denied a report from NBC News that he told his national security advisers in July he wanted to increase the country's nuclear arsenal by almost tenfold, saying he argued for its modernization.

He followed with a second tweet calling NBC News "bad for (the) country".

The comments surprised Trump's advisers, including the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, NBC reported.

But his comments raised questions about his familiarity with the nuclear posture and other issues, officials said.

However, Trump took to Twitter Wednesday and denied the allegations, saying it's "pure fiction, made up to demean".

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"At what point is it appropriate to challenge their License? That was just fake news by NBC", he said. At various points, Trump wondered aloud why nukes would be made if they were never to be used, wouldn't rule out nuking Europe, said that his strategy with regards to nuclear weapons is "to be unpredictable".

In a February interview with CNN's Jake Tapper, Conway bemoaned "fake news" coverage of the Trump administration and defined it as "presumptive negativity about us".

"The July 20 meeting was described as a lengthy and sometimes tense review of worldwide USA forces and operations", NBC reported.

Officials told NBC News that Trump was presented with a chart that illustrated the decline in the size of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, which now includes 4,000 weapons, during the summer Pentagon meeting.

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In reality, a challenge to NBC's broadcast licences would be a lengthy process involving petitions at the FCC.

Two officials present said that at multiple points in the discussion, the president expressed a desire not just for more nuclear weapons, but for additional US troops and military equipment.

Stelter added that the NBC News story about Trump's nuclear comments had multiple sources, and that making up sources rarely happens in journalism.

While it seems unlikely that NBC stations would lose licenses because of presidential interference, Democrats in Congress expressed concern that Trump could succeed in attempts to infringe upon the freedom of the press.

While Trump's relationship with the press likely represent a new low among presidents in the modern era, there are parallels. USA news reports have painted the relationship between Trump and Tillerson as tense.

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